HAIRWAY TO STEVEN: Gibby Haynes w/ Paul Green School Of Rock, Trocadero, Sat.
1. Despite recently turning 51, Gibby looked relatively healthy, trim — trademark beer gut not withstanding — and positively boyish with his hair cut short in the style of the day. His voice remains the full-moon bullfrog croak of yore. And his only concession to age or the passage of time, aside from a pair of stylish frames and thick corrective lenses, was a sheet music stand with all his song lyrics, which he utilized like a teleprompter. Between every song, with a Yuengling lager in his left hand, he would lick the thumb of his right had with slightly exaggerated gusto and turn the page.
2. The Paul Green School of Rock kids did an commendable job of bringing the Butthole Surfers songbook back to life and didn’t scrimp on the music’s most essential ingredient: smoke, and lots of it.
3. At one point between songs, Gibby sang the praises of the Paul Green School of Rock kids, with whom he had been turning the East Coast all week. Bookended by two underage female guitarists at one point, he could not resist the temptation — resisting temptation has NEVER been Gibby’s strong suit — to crack a joke about having “impure thoughts” and then flashed his trademark wicked grin and cackled maniacally. Some things never change.
4. Perhaps addressing the nagging question in the back of everyone’s mind this past week — is the decadence, distortion and depravity of the Butthole Surfers’ music suitable for young children? — Gibby reminded the audience of the path the Family Values crowd would prefer these kids take: “Aren’t these kids great? I can’t wait to see them in full body armor with automatic weapons killing people in foreign lands for no particular reason.” That’s funny, ‘cuz its true.
5. Cardinal rule of show biz is: Never work with animals or small children. Add Gibby Haynes to the list. Earlier in the night, during sound check, when our camera man asked him if we could get an on-camera interview his response was to turn his back to the camera and then, as if to punctuate his response with an exclamation point, he kicked over a chair for good measure. Back when I was 18 and on acid, this might have struck me as pretty badass, but I am not and neither is he. In 2008, it just seemed like a lowercase-b butthole move.
TEXT & PHOTO BY JONATHAN VALANIA